Breaking News: UCLA Will Not Punish Student for Video
March 18, 2011
The Los Angeles Times reports that University of California, Los Angeles, will not punish student Alexandra Wallace for her "Asians in the Library" YouTube video:
"While we were appalled and offended by the sentiments expressed in the video, we have uncovered no facts to lead us to believe the student code of conduct was violated. The campus has no intention of pursuing the matter further," UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said in a telephone interview Friday.
The campus code prohibits students from making specific threats against anyone and forbids racial or sexual harassment that is severe or pervasive enough that it impairs another person's participation in university life. The video by Alexandra Wallace, a third-year political science major, did not meet those standards, he said.
In a letter sent on Tuesday, FIRE urged UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block to end its investigation of the matter, as the content of the video was protected by the First Amendment. Following FIRE's letter, UCLA School of Law Professor Eugene Volokh commented on the controversy on his popular legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. Today, The New York Times editorial board urged UCLA not to punish Wallace, quoting Volokh and noting the importance of First Amendment rights on campus.
FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said, "We are pleased that UCLA will not attempt to punish Alexandra Wallace for her constitutionally protected speech. FIRE often says that the cure for ‘bad' speech is ‘better' speech, and the outpouring of parody and criticism of Wallace's rant demonstrates once again that our nation's First Amendment tradition of vigorous discourse is the best way to handle speech controversies. FIRE also urges UCLA to continue to investigate any credible threats of violence against Alexandra Wallace in the wake of her video."